Gaudino Press Conference

Central Washington University President President James L. Gaudino speaks during a press conference in mid-February in Barge Hall in Ellensburg.

ELLENSBURG — Central Washington University will have an accelerated fall quarter, and faculty will have the option of teaching virtually, in person or both.

The quarter will begin Sept. 9 and end Nov. 24. The schedule has 51 days of instruction, with a day off for Veterans Day on Nov. 11, and a study day on Nov. 16. In a typical year, fall quarter runs from late September to early December.

The goal, President Jim Gaudino said, is to complete the quarter ahead of a forecasted increase in COVID-19 cases and avoid the logistics of students leaving campus and returning after Thanksgiving.

“The plan seeks to balance two critical goals: safeguarding the health and safety of our community and offering the high-quality learning, living, and working environments for which Central is so well known,” Gaudino wrote in a letter this week.

Faculty will have the option to choose between teaching in-person, virtually or combining the two.

“The goal is to find the modality that best balances the safety and quality of instruction,” Gaudino wrote. “Deans and chairs have been working with faculty to record these choices so they can be presented to students when they register for classes. Our new and returning students will be encouraged to develop a schedule that conforms to their learning style and personal needs.”

Staff will be encouraged to work remotely unless their job can only be performed in person.

Physical distancing will be required at learning spaces, gathering spaces, movement on campus and services that involve face-to-face interactions.

Masks will be required for all employees and students when physical distancing is not possible, except those who cannot wear masks for health reasons. Cloth masks will be provided to all students and employees. Students who enter classrooms or gathering places without masks will be asked to wear a mask immediately or leave.

Bargaining agreement

Meanwhile, CWU and the United Faculty of Central (UFC), the union representing faculty members, agreed to extend their three-year collective bargaining agreement, which expires on Aug. 31, for another year.

The extension was approved by a majority of members of the UFC and Wednesday at a special CWU Board of Trustees meeting. It will take effect immediately.

Under the terms of the extension, all parties recognized the restrictions on in-person activities, including face-to-face meetings, along with uncertainties from the economic impact of the pandemic on the university, made it “impractical to engage in full-scope bargaining at this time,” a CWU news release said.